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March 29, 2023

Medicaid Continuous Enrollment Ends April 1

For the last three years, South Carolina’s uninsured rate has benefited from the continuous enrollment provision put in place during the federal public health emergency brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.  This means that once someone is enrolled in Medicaid, they cannot be disenrolled or have their benefits reduced until the end of the federal public health emergency (PHE), regardless of any changes in their income or circumstances. 

Now, as that emergency declaration expires, a host of changes are coming to our healthcare community, including the resumption of normal Medicaid enrollment and disenrollment processes. 

This will have a significant impact on a great many South Carolinians. According to an estimate from the SC Department of Health and Human Services, about 300,000 people currently on Medicaid in the state were newly eligible due to the continuous enrollment policy. If these people do not meet the regular eligibility criteria, or if they fail to renew their applications after the PHE ends, they could lose their Medicaid coverage and would either return to the ranks of the uninsured or have to purchase coverage on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. 

The Department of Health and Human Services will take a full year to carry that process out, sending out review forms in batches to everyone currently on Medicaid in South Carolina. They will have 60 days after the form is mailed to fill it out and return it. 

While this is the process that existed prior to the pandemic, it will be a big change from the last three years, particularly for those who might have previously qualified as children because of their family’s income but are now adults, or those who struggle with housing insecurity and might miss the renewal forms in the mail. 

It’s important to spread the word about this change in policy, and of turning in these renewal forms to mitigate as much as possible the potential loss of coverage in our efforts to ensure all South Carolinians have access to quality and affordable healthcare. 

To learn more about these renewal forms, visit the DHHS “Annual Review” webpage to find sample review forms and fact sheets in both English and Spanish. Current Medicaid enrollees can also update their contact information here and add their phone numbers and email addresses to receive notifications when their review form has been sent.